Published On: Fri, Apr 20th, 2018

Which teams received too many prime-time games?

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The NFL released its schedule for the 2018 season, allowing fans to plan their lives accordingly.

This year wasn’t particularly different than others, with a number of high-profile teams earning several prime-time games, including the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles and finalist New England Patriots.

Here we assess which teams received too many or too few prime-time games for the 2018 season.

Too many games

Cowboys

The Cowboys are often deemed “America’s Team,” and they lived up to their moniker on this year’s schedule. Dallas was given five prime-time games, a gaudy figure, considering the team failed to make the playoffs in 2017 with a 9-7 record.

Invariably, there will be people advocating for the Cowboys to receive maximum exposure due to their market capitalization, wide-reaching fan base, and an offense led by third-year standouts Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. This would be an oversight, however, as the Cowboys no longer headline the NFC East, with the Super Bowl champion Eagles establishing themselves as the team to beat, and serves as nothing more than an ode to status quo.

Prescott and Elliott are two of the league’s most electrifying players, but they aren’t enough to justify the Cowboys’ routine appearance in prime time.

Seahawks


Football is cruel and disregards recent history at an alarming pace. Although they were a perennial Super Bowl contender for most of the last decade, the Seahawks are no longer the powerhouse of yesteryear and could end up getting roasted under the bright lights.

Russell Wilson led the NFL with 34 passing touchdowns, while Bobby Wagner and Earl Thomas remain among the premier linebackers and safeties in the NFL. The “Legion of Boom” has dissolved, however, and this is no longer the team that made defense cool while demanding reform on a number of on-and-off-field issues. Seattle missed the playoffs for the first time since 2012 and could continue on its descent in 2018 with the team’s core quickly aging or moving on.

Chiefs

Kansas City is always in the playoff race, but does anyone consider them a must-watch team? The Chiefs will unveil Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, and though his arm strength and touch wowed observers during the draft process, he’s an unknown quantity at this point. What if he fails on the big stage? The NFL community could potentially be stuck watching a rookie get a swift introduction to the rigors of pro football.

Tyreek Hill is arguably the NFL’s fastest player, Kareem Hunt won the rushing title as a rookie, and Eric Berry remains one of the NFL’s best stories. But, with five games in the spotlight, the Chiefs may be overexposed to a national audience, cultivating a reputation as a team that is always good, but never good enough to make a sizable impact.

Too few games

Jaguars


These aren’t the Jaguars that created a pathos in the national conscience, instead becoming one of the NFL’s most fun teams to watch in 2017. Led by the NFL’s second-ranked total and scoring defense, the Jaguars smashed their opponents into submission, with Jalen Ramsey, Calais Campbell, and company making it nearly impossible to move the ball downfield.

Jacksonville not only posted one of the best defenses in recent memory, its legion of excitable young players provided the NFL with the best quotes of the season, gleefully whooping it up after eliminating Pittsburgh from the playoffs. Sporting a combination of speed, size, youth, and charisma, it’s a shame we aren’t seeing more of the Jaguars on national television this winter.

Chargers

It was a tale of two seasons for the Chargers, a team that overcame a 0-4 start to battle valiantly for a 9-7 record, just missing the playoffs. Some have billed the Chargers as a sleeper Super Bowl contender, and it would be a shame if they went under the radar during head coach Anthony Lynn’s second year at the helm.

Philip Rivers is looking to lead the Chargers back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013, Joey Bosa could make the leap to All-Pro status, while Casey Hayward is a threat to record an interception on every passing down. If the NFL is serious about the Los Angeles experiment, it makes little sense to leave one of their franchises out to dry. It’s now on the Chargers to ensure they won’t face this scenario again.

Panthers

The Panthers are always in the running for a playoff spot and are three years removed from a 15-1 campaign that culminated in a Super Bowl loss. Cam Newton is one of the NFL’s most compelling players, whether it’s his cadence throwing defenders off, or his dual-threat ability that can break a game open. Carolina finished 11-5, have a former MVP at quarterback, and usually sport one of the league’s best defenses. It’s a shock they’re on the national radar just twice.



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